EAST AFRICA: Kadaga directs Kutesa to explain Rwanda-Uganda relations

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Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Kutesa to issue a statement explaining the latest development on the relationship between Uganda and Rwanda after reports emerged that Ugandans have continued to be killed by Rwandan authorities, just after Uganda released Rwandan prisoners.

The Speaker’s directive followed a matter raised by Roland Mugume (Rukungiri Municipality) who questioned why the government hasn’t commented why the Rwandan border to Uganda remains closed despite efforts by Uganda to extend an olive branch to Rwanda, saying the move is crippling financial lives of traders in Uganda.

Mugume said, “Last week, I visited two boarders of Bunangana and Mirama Hills, up to now the boarders are still closed, no business is taking place. What is the fate of our trade relations between Rwanda and Uganda?”

Mugume’s quest for information was backed by Semujju Nganda (Kira Municipality) who requested the Speaker that when Government is tabling a statement on trade relations with Rwanda, but also include killing of Ugandans.

The Opposition Chief Whip said, “There are reports of Ugandans being killed in Rwanda, the government should advise Ugandans on whether to travel or not travel to Rwanda because reports in Uganda media shows that Ugandans are being killed in Rwanda.”

His remarks come at the time reports showed that another Ugandan, Teo Jean Ndagizemana from Kisoro district was shot dead together with his two Rwandan cousins on Saturday evening by Rwandan security.

Ndagizemana’s death came after Uganda Government issued a protest note to the government of Rwanda after the deadly border shooting of Job Ebyarishaga and Bosco Tuhirwe were shot by Rwandan security operatives at Tabagwe village in Nyagatare District in Rwanda, with the Rwandan Government accusing the duo of smuggling tobacco into their nation with Rwanda describing the deaths as a pity and that their death should serve as a tough lesson for Ugandans to know that every country has its own rules, handles crime in its own way and methods neighboring East African country.

Government Chief whip, Ruth Nankabirwa asked Parliament to give the government more time to resolve the prevailing issues with the neighbor so as to save more lives.

She said, “The issue of our relations with our neighbors is very key because peace is elusive, there are many meetings that have been going on, there is still a lot going, any slight careless statement made can take us to square one, give government chance to conclude the process of making sure that we get back to the good relationship we had.”

However, Nankabirwa’s statement was rejected by some MPs like Ssemujju and Speaker Kadaga who said that in other nations, even a small matter would see their Governments issue travel advisory to its citizens but wondered why the same move hasn’t been taken up by Uganda even amidst deaths of its citizens.

Micheal Werikhe, Minister of State for Trade pleaded with Parliament to give Government more time to prepare a statement because the matters raised are crossing cutting in different ministries, a plea Speaker headed to and ordered the Minister of Foreign Affairs to issue a statement on relationships between the two countries.

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